Dorothy Arzner was the exception in Hollywood film history -- the one woman who succeeded as a director, in a career that spanned three decades. In Part One, Dorothy Arzner's film career -- her work as a film editor to her directorial debut, to her departure from Hollywood in 1943 -- is documented, with particular attention to Arzner's roles as "star-maker" and "woman's director." In Part Two, Mayne analyzes a number of Arzner's films and discusses how feminist preoccupations shape them, from the women's communities central to Dance, Girl, Dance and The Wild Party to critiques of the heterosexual couple in Christopher Strong and Craig's Wife. Part Three treats Arzner's lesbianism and the role that desire between women played in her career, her life, and her films.
"It is the first major study of Arzner's work since 1975 and, considering the depth of Mayne's research, will be the landmark study for many to come." - Lambda Book Report " ... brilliant and lively reading ... " - Feminist Boookstore News " ... displays an interpretive subtlety that does justice to Arzner's films themselves." - The Lesbian Review of Books " ... brilliantly written and constructed ... " - Gay Times "[Mayne explores] in fascinating detail how Arzner succeeded in becoming a director, how her films reflected a distinct sensibility and set of life experiences, and how she was portrayed in the popular media." - Steven Mintz, H-Net Book Review